The untimely death of Eva Cassidy struck a deep chord with Chuck Brown. Washington, D.C.'s godfather of go-go had teamed with the pop/jazz singer on the 1995 release "The Other Side." "After we lost h
The untimely death of Eva Cassidy struck a deep chord with Chuck Brown. Washington, D.C.'s godfather of go-go had teamed with the pop/jazz singer on the 1995 release "The Other Side." "After we lost her, I didn't want to do anymore studio work," Brown tells Billboard.
But cajoling from songwriter/producer Chucky Thompson and business manager Tom Goldfogle changed Brown's tune. Due April 24, "We're About the Business" (Raw Venture) is the musician's first set of primarily original material since Cassidy's 1996 death.
That's not all. Rapper Eve samples his No. 31 1974 R&B hit "Blow Your Whistle" on "Tambourine." The Swizz Beatz-produced track is the first single from her long-awaited new album, "Here I Am," due Aug. 7 via Geffen.
"When 'Blow' first came out, there were little kids riding bicycles, blowing whistles and shaking tambourines," Brown says, his gravelly voice erupting in gentle laughter. "That tune is a classic."
As is Brown himself. Still an energetic fixture on the D.C. club circuit, Brown and his Soul Searchers have been preaching the gospel of go-go since the '70s. The pumping grooves of Latin percussion, jazz, soul, gutbucket rhythm and funk encapsulates Brown's journey from a piano-playing, church-bred youth to guitar-strumming member of a Latin group covering top 40 songs. In between were such inspirations as the Godfather James Brown, bluesmen B.B. King and Muddy Waters and jazz icons Ella Fitzgerald and Wes Montgomery.
Brown began recording "Business" in late 2004. His pairing with protege Thompson -- who toured Europe with Brown at the age of 17 -- resulted in such can't-help-but-move tracks as the single "Chuck Baby" (featuring Brown's rapping daughter KK, whose own go-go band Backyard is earning its share of buzz around D.C.) and "Party Roll," the theme song for the D.C. Lottery's spring campaign.
Though go-go's popularity remains the strongest in D.C. and overseas, Brown isn't about to end his crusade. "I've had records that absolutely did nothing," he says. "But I'll never get tired of go-go. As long as God keeps me able, I'm still getting hired and I'm still not tired, I won't be retired."